I confess. I don’t get up any later on a Sunday than I do any other day, and that always used to be a bit of a problem because getting up early on a Sunday A Long Time Ago meant that your Sunday was always twice as long as everybody else’s. Let’s face it in The Olden Days, there was fuck all to do on a Sunday.
Now, I’m issuing a warning before we go on to all Young People everywhere. You won’t have a clue what I’m on about, so best stop reading right now and head for the nearest retail park. It is Sunday, after all.
I blame my early rising habit on an overenthusiastic obstetrician pulling me out of my mother’s womb rather ahead of time due to a defective ear trumpet and apparently having been out at a charity golf do the night before where he imbibed copious quantities of Archer’s Stout; thus arriving in the delivery room, to attend to my soon to be mother, in a less than charitable state himself.
Strangely enough, having arrived so early and continued to get up pre – dawn ever since, I am always late for everything. My most recent erstwhile boyfriend, however, always seemed to be able to turn up outside my house within a nano-second of our agreed ‘I’ll pick you up at’ time and was therefore able to sit tapping on the dashboard and sending a one word What’s App message – ‘Outside x’ in an almost audible plaintive tone. I, meanwhile, would still be hurtling around my bedroom at breakneck speed with one stocking on, GHD straighteners in one hand and trying to pick cat hairs out of whatever outfit I was going to put on with the other. The messages got more plaintive the longer I took to get ready, but the end result was always quite pleasing. Sometimes I even remembered to put the other stocking on.
Anyway, Sundays! There’s this complete fallacy that Sunday is a day of rest. This is nonsense and the very idea should be dispensed with immediately if you have children, a hangover, a dog or a partner with an Ikea catalogue and a determined expression on his or her face. Now, Ikea – that brings me to another scourge of the modern day Sunday – the Retail Park, where approximately half the population of the first world seem to spend the day. When The Government At The Time decided to abolish the 1950 Shops Act and replace it with the 1994 Sunday Trading Laws, it was clear that they had no idea whatsoever that not everyone who had attained their majority and voted them into power would want to spend their Sunday standing in a queue at the checkout behind a fat woman with B.O. who insisted on paying for her Klippan Sofa in assorted change collected in a giant whisky jar.
Mind you, Sunday trading laws always were a bit cock- eyed to say the very least, especially when you consider that by some strange quirk of legislative blundering, you were able to buy a pornographic magazine but not a bible on a Sunday. That says a lot about the law makers of the time, I think and even more about the shady looking bloke from number 27 who’s trying to stuff a pornographic magazine down the leg of his suit trousers as he heads off for church and then the pub.
That’s another thing – where on earth could you buy a pornographic magazine from on a Sunday? I know all you Young People to whom I referred earlier will not believe this – but – are you ready? NO WHERE WAS OPEN ON A SUNDAY. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
When I was a kid (pre Sunday trading law changes, regretfully) my parents owned a holiday home in Anglesey, and the whole island used to be dry on a Sunday. Not a single pub would be open. This irritated my father to the point where he’d get in the car and drive over to Bangor – in mainland Wales just to have a couple of pints while my mother was trying to cook a Sunday dinner on a tiny two ring calor gas cooker with an oven the size of a matchbox. He’d arrive back around three o’clock, looking slightly inebriated, clutching a Watney’s Party 7 (l told anyone under the age of 35 not to read this. It’s your own fault) and wearing a vaguely hopeful expression that after dinner my mother would abandon all thought of washing up but instead retire to the bedroom for a bit of an afternoon nap.
The changes to Sunday trading laws must have been a god-send to my mother in avoiding the amorous advances of my father, but sadly not everyone was as enamoured with them. My mother wasn’t exactly enamoured by my father, either, but that’s another story. In the meantime, you could fill the car up with petrol on a Sunday, but you’d have been hard pressed once you did to drive anywhere that was actually open. This was proven by my father who, once the amorous advances had been well and truly put to bed (and not in the way he was anticipating) by my mother, would suggest that he and I ‘go out for a run in the car’. These words would strike the fear of God into me as a child because someone, at one point in his lifetime, must have given my father a travel guide containing a whole section dedicated to ‘The Most Boring Places in Britain to Take Your Child On a Sunday’.
On one memorable occasion he took me to a field. Yes, it just didn’t get any more exciting than this. Honestly, it didn’t. Anyway, turned out this just wasn’t any old field, it was Marston Moor, you know – English Civil War site in North Yorkshire. My dad must have been a Royalist in a previous life, because we stood in this field and he decided to retrace every step made by Prince Rupert during the battle. Fabulous Sunday afternoon entertainment for a teenage girl, watching your father tread on every blade of grass in a big field in Yorkshire. I’d have rather gone to Ikea and stood behind that fat woman at the checkout.
Oh, and did you know that there’s a Lawnmower Museum in Southport? Or a Pencil Museum in Keswick? Or that The British Roundabout Appreciation Society (yes, HONESTLY!) will take you on a tour of Britain’s best roundabouts? There’s a lock museum in Willenhall, absolutely fascinating. Yes, if there’s a boring place in Britain, I’m bound to have been there with my dad. The only good thing about it was that he made the mistake of taking me to these places on a Sunday, and if he’d thought to telephone them and ask in advance if they were open, he’d have been told quite categorically – Never on a Sunday!
Enjoy yours, but don’t invite your dad.
©Amy J Steinberg 2017
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